In light of the upcoming discussion on teacher retention, I wondered what it takes to retain any employee—not just a teacher. Certainly there are nuances to teaching that make us different from just any employee but certainly we are similar in our workplace happiness to people in another field.
An article in Forbes magazine points out that having happier employees actually leads a company to make more money. I suppose in the teaching world, our capital would be higher student achievement. This article, which is based off Nelson’s book “Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy”, says that more money is not actually what makes employees happy but rather cited worker safety (where applicable), rewarding employees for success (with paid time off) and sharing information (being in the dark can result in resentment). The bottom line: employers showed compassion and appreciation for their employees.
Businessnewsdaily.com states 11 ways to promote employee happiness
1. Room for growth
2. Good training program
3. Small bonuses
5. Favorable office environment
6. The ability to work from home
7. Allowing workers to focus on their jobs without interruption
8. Work/life balance
9. Unique benefits package
10. Help workers live healthier lifestyles
11. Give them a break for social media and other activities
Finally, a report by Allegiance states that the average company loses 20-50% of its employee base each year. Obviously this is a huge range but it terms of these numbers, teachers low retention rates don’t seem as extreme. The main purpose of the Allegiance report is to give tips on promoting employee loyalty. They cite employee “engagement” to be the main factor in promoting employee loyalty. Engaged employees are committed to success, emotionally attached and socially involved with a company. To keep an employee, you must be helpful, make them feel competent and improved, and make them feel accepted and respected.
So when you look at all employees, it’s not surprising that teachers are unhappy—lack of a work/life balance for 10 months of the year, lack of a room for growth, and feeling unappreciated, just to name a few. It also feels like teacher retention is strongly linked to principal quality—in the end, who makes you feel appreciated, helps you grow, trains you and sets the climate of the school? A principal. It seems like teacher retention would be easier to discuss on a case-by-case basis, since every school is different. However, with retention rates low across the board, there must be some common link of unhappiness across many schools. Which of these factors are unique to teachers and which ones can we change to keep more quality teachers in the field?